3D Printed Fishing Lures
Following on from my internship with Lured3D and my general passion for fishing, I've been busy experimenting and conceptualising 3D printed fishing lures. It started out with designing lure heads for trolling, which have a skirt attached to them.
It has now ventured into the realm of 'poppers' for chasing fish like trevally and mangrove jack, as well as experimenting with stick baits for both spinning and high speed trolling. This page will be updated as I continue my experimentation, as I can see this becoming a long term project, so stay tuned!
The first batch of lures which I had designed were based around the sport of game fishing and trolling a spread of lures for attracting large fish such as marlin (black, blue and striped), wahoo, mahi mahi and mackerel (amongst several others). This is a good opportunity for 3D printing lures as the rig used for this type of lure involves no hooks being attached to the body of the lure. A hole through the centre of the lure head needs to be added for the leader (fishing line) to travel through, but then the options for the design of the head are quite endless. These lures are also rigged with a 'skirt' which is usually a colourful array of silicone rubber 'tentacles' which trail behind the lure as it is pulled behind the boat. These means two chamfered features are added to the rear end of the lure head depending on the size of the skirts being used. The length of the head and skirt combined can be anywhere from 6 inches to 12 inches, however most of my designs are aimed to be around the 6-8 inches length.
The different designs of the head will result in a different 'action' as the lure is pulled behind a boat, so experimenting with these designs has been quite fun! I have played around with more 'bulb' shaped heads which feature a small air cavity connected to a channel that runs through the head, aimed to act like a 'venturi' and create a large explosion of air as the lure dives below the surface and releases any air that was caught inside the head. This release of air is then followed by a 'smoke trail' as the lure is pulled underwater, and the extra air cavity has resulted in longer and more aggressive smoke trails. Once the air has been released, the lure rises back to the surface where the cycle is repeated.
Testing different head designs has resulted in some great learning curves, but most of the testing has been simply cast and retrieve from land based locations due to the fact I don't own a boat. During the first offshore boat testing of one of the smaller head designs, we managed to land a 1.3m Mahi Mahi! We caught her about 10km offshore from the Southport Seaway, off the Gold Coast, Australia. This lure head was literally less than 10 hours into existence, with the design being finalised the night before we went fishing. It was the first time we had completed a working trial of the lures, running a spread of 4 lures behind a 4.3m 'tinny' at about 5-6 knots trolling speed. As you can see from the photos it was a great result, and in general all of the lures swam well through the water.
We are new to the art of trolling lures and will be testing some more designs in the next few weeks, hopefully with similar results to the first test run! Some of the new designs to test include a straight runner lure head, which features a 100% infill print and a nut that has been melted into the head for extra weight to make the lure swim underwater, rather than the popping effect of the initial lure head designs.
Another type of fishing lure which I have been experimenting with is the 'popper' design, which is a cast and retrieve lure that swims across the surface of the water. The design of the lure is aimed to be pulled aggressively through the water surface and create a large water explosion as the lure comes to a stop, aimed to imitate a fish being chased by a large predatory fish. The initial designs have been ok, with only 2 out of around 10 different designs actually achieving this correct movement through the water. I have learnt a lot through this design process and will hopefully have some success with these designs soon. I have taken the red and white painted design out fishing a couple of times now, but no such luck catching anything on it...yet! I will update this page with my new designs and any success stories I have with them.